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Wheaton parenting time attorneysThanks to studies and real-life families, shared parenting plans are on the rise. In fact, several states have introduced bills that would make a 50-50 parenting time split the starting point in all divorces - but is this trend appropriate for every family? Consider the following pros and cons of a shared parenting plan, and learn how our seasoned divorce lawyers can help you in deciding whether one may be right for your family. 

What is a Shared Parenting Plan?

Shared parenting plans typically involve a near-equal split of the child’s time. Some families switch off weekly, with one parent having the child for a week and then the other. In other shared parenting plans, the child may switch homes throughout the week, perhaps with one parent taking the beginning of the week (i.e. Sunday through Wednesday) and the other taking the remaining days. The latter plan will typically involve a switch-off, where the child may spend four days with one parent one week, and then three with that same parent on the following week.

The Potential Pros of a Shared Parenting Plan 

At their core, shared parenting plans are designed to ensure the child has ample time with each parent. Studies have shown that this can be highly beneficial for the child’s overall growth and development - and not just during the divorce, but in the years to follow. Families with shared parenting plans also tend to have better communication, overall, because the plan itself requires a great deal of cooperation. Of course, not all parents can communicate in such a way after their divorce, and that can lead to complications down the road. 

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DuPage County family law lawyer, shared parentingA major change in Illinois child custody law went into effect in 2016—a move that represents a shift to what some would call a more modern approach to addressing the needs of minor children in a divorce. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the law now requires divorcing spouses to work on a plan for allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time.

Experts across the country have stated the numerous benefits to the concept of shared parenting, which is replacing the traditional joint and sole custody laws in other states. Since Illinois has followed suit, it is important for divorcing parents to understand how shared parenting will impact their lives.

Illinois Law on Shared Parenting

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joint custody agreementsWhether individual parents originally wanted to share custody with their ex or not, they often find themselves in formal, court-ordered joint custody arrangements. Each parent needs to figure out how to make the best of the situation for themselves and, more importantly, for their children.

Key Points

Figure out the channel of communication that will work best for you and your ex. Phone calls, texts, emails, or even face-to-face meetings (without kids present) are the likely options, but if those do not work, there are other methods to help you, such as computer programs that can help provide a channel of effective communication between you and your ex-spouse. There is simply no way to avoid communication, so consider which of the many options will be the easiest and least stressful way for you and your ex to talk effectively about your child’s life. Effectively communicating with your ex when emergencies arise that will impact your child’s regular schedule will ensure there is no added stress on your child when the change occurs.

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parenting time, parenting, children of divorce, child custody, shared parenting, life after divorceA recently published article discussed the problem that some parents face in child custody disputes and the changes that some are calling for in order to level the playing field. Many parents who are involved in divorce cases where children are involved face the possibility of a diminished parent-child relationship. The parent who is not the custodial parent often becomes just a visitor in the eyes of the family. Because of this perceived inequity, many parents who lose out on significant time with their children are trying to make changes to the legal process.

Shared Parenting

Advocates of equal parenting time are trying to get legislation passed that would divide custodial time more fairly between both parents. Their position is that children are better served when they spend equal time with both of their parents. These parents are against laws that would award custody to one parent over another, except in cases where one of the parents is deemed by the court to be unfit. Their proposed legislation would include a clause that mandates both parents get a minimum percentage of parenting time with their children each week.

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